Unemployment in Belgium will return to its pre-crisis level by the end of 2017, according to the OECD which presented its Employment Outlook for 2017 on Tuesday. Moreover, Belgian unemployment is expected to halve the gap between itself and the average for OECD countries by the end of 2018.
“Unemployment has returned to its pre-crisis level earlier in Belgium than in the rest of the OECD, but then increased significantly in 2012. The beginning of the recession is only a very recent one. At 6.8% in April, the unemployment rate was still above its pre-crisis level and 0.9 percentage points above the OECD average”, the international organisation said. Unemployment must return to its pre-crisis level by the end of the year.
The OECD points to a low employment rate in Belgium compared to other OECD countries. The organisation estimates that the employment rate has “remained virtually unchanged by the economic situation, unlike the majority of OECD countries where it has increased during the economic recovery after the crisis”.
Moreover, the activity rate in Belgium is above its pre-crisis level but “always with a low level in international comparisons”. “As in the rest of the OECD, it has increased among women and people aged 55 to 64, which has offset its decline among young people and adult men”, the OECD said.
In addition to the weakness of the Belgian labour market, the OECD nevertheless has strong points. “Belgium is one of the leading countries in the quality of working income thanks to a relatively high average wage and low inequality. It also exceeds most other countries with a lower level of insecurity in the labour market and a smaller gap between men’s and women’s labour income”, said the OECD.